County treasurer Linda Lenherr to step down

By Heather Michon

When newly elected Fluvanna County Treasurer Linda Lenherr stepped into her office in January 1984, one of the first things she saw was a table stacked high with piles of unopened mail.

The outgoing treasurer had left a tangle of uncollected taxes and unrecorded payments. There were close to $300,000 in unpaid taxes on the books. She didn’t even have a computer.

“I went home and cried a couple of times,” Lenherr recalls. “What in the world did I get myself into?”

Nearly four decades later, the treasurer’s office has grown in both size and scope. The county’s population has grown a staggering 166 percent over her tenure and local tax collections now top $48 million. She has a deputy and a staff of four and plenty of computers. 

Now, she says, it’s time to step away. For the first election since 1983, her name will not appear on the ballot when voters go to the polls in November.

Lenherr struggled with the decision. She has spent decades building a relationship with the citizens. “To work with everybody, to be fair, to be equal, and to earn trust – that’s the key, right? To earn the trust of the citizens out there,” she said. “You know, sometimes people come in just to talk. Or come in and say, ‘Can you help me? Can you help me figure out how to get this paid?’ Sometimes you’re like a psychologist.”

While she is firm in her belief that citizens have an obligation to pay their taxes on time and in full, she’s mindful that people’s lives – and their finances – can be complicated. 

“COVID hit hard for a lot of families, so there are a lot of families just getting back on their feet, and it’s a struggle. I mean, our economy is not real good right now.” She and her staff work daily to help those in need get on track through monthly payment plans.  

After months of thinking about running for a 10th consecutive term, she said it finally came down to family.

“You know, I’m not a young chick,” she laughed. “It’s time I spend time with my husband, three boys, my grandkids and great-grandkids.” 

There are two big projects to complete before her last day in office: instituting credit card payments and moving to all electronic bank transfers. Both are now undergoing their final legal and technical reviews and should be approved by the Board of Supervisors by the end of the year.  

Lenherr first started working for the county in June of 1971, not long after graduating from Fluvanna County High School. She knows that last day is not going to be easy. “It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be sad. I’ve been here so many years,” she said. Her last day will be Dec. 31.

“I have been so blessed to have been serving the citizens for this amount of time,” she said. “I really appreciate their trust in me, and their support.” 

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